The longer you wait, the worse it may be. When it comes to water damage, time is everything. Some damages are immediate, but other damages occur over time as moisture spreads. It’s important to know the real side effects of water damage and how quickly it can ruin a home.
Mold & Health Risks
- Mold can begin to grow in as little as 24 to 48 hours. Mold spores are all around us, so when they land on damp, organic material it can take only a few hours before harmful microorganisms start spreading to other moist areas and cause damage to whatever they are attached to. When mold gets a start, thousands more spores are released into the air, spreading throughout a building or home. Once it grows, it can be difficult and expensive to take care of.
- Mold can be toxic to your health, causing respiratory problems including infections and difficulty breathing.
- When flooding occurs, water can carry with it chemicals, toxins, and bacteria that can be harmful. Water and warm surfaces can cause bacteria to grow and flourish. This can become a serious health issue if not addressed.
- Pests can become a problem when there is moisture. Bugs seek out wet areas to lay their eggs. Hatching eggs and dying bugs can spread bacteria or bring in more bugs. Cracks and holes from water damage can also attract bugs, as they are perfect breeding grounds for roaches, mosquitos, and more.
Furniture & Appliances
- Damage to furniture depends on the type of materials and the quality of the items. Any furniture made from particle board will most likely warp or deteriorate and have to be thrown out. Metal or solid wood are more likely to hold up after contact with water.
- After water damage, any type of heavy padding, like in sofas, will most likely have to be tossed. These types of materials are difficult to dry out and susceptible to mold. Furniture with seat covers may be salvaged, but covers may need to be replaced.
- Wiring can be easily damaged when in contact with water. This can lead to damaged electrical appliances, blown fuses, or even fire or electrocution in worst case scenarios. Electrical appliances will most likely have to be replaced after water damage.
- Other items that will most likely have to be replaced include mattresses, box springs, stuffed toys, carpet, rugs, and soft decorative items.
Home Structure & Materials
- Wood- A semi-porous material that may have to be removed completely. If water is heavy and becomes hidden underneath or behind solid wood flooring, it should be removed to allow access to pockets of saturation and to provide room for proper cleaning and sanitizing before mold can form. Support beams and other structures made from wood can become soft and weak threatening a home’s structural integrity.
- Laminate- Comes in various types and grades that differ in water resistance. Some laminate floors have wax and oils that are beneficial in water absorption. However, most laminate floors are prone to deterioration with heavy amounts of water and will most likely have to be removed.
- Vinyl- Naturally resists water absorption. However, if water is found underneath, removal of the vinyl is necessary for proper drying.
- Concrete- Can be very unpredictable. Releases water at a slower rate so may take more time to dry and damage impact may be delayed.
- Drywall- The most common material found with water damage in a home. If not attended to properly and promptly, it can have a huge impact. It is very porous and susceptible to water damage. When saturated, it will lose its structural integrity. However, if dried properly, the structure may be regained. If it is soft, crumbly, or moldy, it must be replaced. Most likely, any walls or ceilings that were in contact with the water will have to be gutted to the frame for proper cleaning and drying to prevent mold.
- Insulation- A very porous material with fibers and foams that hold water. Depending on the damage and type of foam used, it will have to be dried or replaced.
- Brick- With proper water drainage, water repellants, or treatments, the impact of water damage may be minimal due to the nature of this material being used for harsh outside elements like wind and rain.
Water damage left undetected or ignored can cause big problems like health hazards, structural safety, and high costs for repairs. In short, the effects of water damage can be devastating. Early detection and quick action are critical.
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